How to Prepare for Pest Control Service

cockroach on a white background

age fotostock/Getty Images

Hiring a professional for pest control service does not (unfortunately) mean you can just simply call for service, then sit back and wait. Effective elimination requires a partnership between the professional pest control operators (PCOs) and the homeowner, with both taking action to get – and keep – the pests out.

Although the preparation steps required of a homeowner will be generally the same between providers, most PCOs will provide you with a specific list of preparation activities, "prep," to be completed prior to their visit. Because a lack of preparation could make a treatment unsafe or cause reinfestation of the entire home or building, many PCOs will not treat areas that are not prepared to specification.

This article includes links to preparation requirements of one pest control company, which can be used as general guidelines as to what you may expect from any company, and for your do-it-yourself projects. When using any pesticide yourself, always read and follow all label directions and safe-use guidelines prior to purchase and use, including those of preparing for use)

  1. 12 Steps to Prepare for Cockroach Control Service. Today, professionals most often use gel bait insecticides to control and eliminate cockroaches. This requires the placement of small beads of gel bait in areas where cockroaches are known or expected to harbor, travel, or feed. Just a few of the 12 steps you can take to prepare for service are: cleaning your home prior to the pest control visit and maintaining your home as neatly as possible for long-term results. This helps to eliminate competing for food sources for the insects, making the bait more attractive to the roaches. If anyone in the home has special allergy problems, is pregnant, or is under the age of one, the PCO should be informed prior to service and precautions were taken. All people and pets should stay out of the area being serviced for as long as specified by the PCO.
  2. 12 Steps to Prepare for Flea Control Service. Pets can get fleas from outside or from being around other animals that have fleas. Whether you purchase flea control products for your own use (following all label directions), or you choose to work with a pest control company, it is crucial that the home, pet(s), and yard—if applicable, all be treated the same time. A few of the 12 preparation steps recommended prior to effective elimination are: Prior to the technician's arrival, wash all pet bedding in hot water or destroy it; vacuum carpeting and mop wood and tile floors, including along walls and inside closets; and clean or vacuum furniture, especially between and under cushions. 
  1. 8 Steps to Prepare for Ant Control Service. Similar to cockroach control service, professionals often use gel bait insecticides to control and eliminate small ants. This requires the placement of small beads of gel bait, primarily in areas where ants have been seen feeding or trailing. This bait may be placed on small pieces of cardboard or another holder, or may be contained inside an ant bait station. Example preparation steps include: cleaning up spills, thorough vacuuming, and storing food in ant-proof containers or in the refrigerator.
  2. 8 Steps to Prepare for Rodent Control Service. The sighting of even a single mouse or rat in your home can mean that there is an entire family (with aunts, uncles, and other kinfolks) living in your home's basement, the walls, or in and between stored items. There are ways to get rid of the mice and rats yourself, but there are also likely to be times that you prefer to call on a professional. To ensure the treatment is as effective and long-lasting as possible, two of the 8 steps in preparation are: repair of any holes in walls, around baseboards, or doors that don’t seal properly; removal of all items from the top of the refrigerator and from beneath the kitchen sink to allow access to these areas. 
  1. 12 Steps to Prepare for Bed Bug Service. Bed bugs have become one of the most serious of pest problems, and are one of the most difficult to control. In almost all cases, you will need to professional service for complete elimination. However the homeowner or resident plays a very significant part the success of a bed bug treatment program. Included among the 12 steps of prep for a homeowner/resident to do prior to service are: Remove all bedding (sheets, covers, dust ruffles, etc.) from the mattresses and box spring in all bedrooms. Wash all bed linens in the hottest water possible. Do not replace the bed linens for at least four hours after treatment, or as instructed by the PCO. Remove all personal items including clothes, toys, shoes, stored materials, etc., from the furniture and floor throughout the home.
  2. 8 Steps to Prepare for Termite Service. Termite knowledge can help homeowners detect problems and understand control, but because of the needed expertise and equipment, it is generally recommended that termite control be left to professionals. This is also due to the different species of termites and the specific techniques needed for control of each. For example, subterranean termites nest near or below ground, but dry wood termite nests are found above ground. Regardless of the termite species or termite, just a few of the preparation steps include: in areas designated by the technician as needing treatment, move all furniture, appliances, or stored materials should be away from all interior walls, by at least three (3) feet where possible; if closets are to be treated, remove or cover the clothing, as drilling can cause dust to rise into the air.

    Preparing for pest control service will require some work on the part of the homeowner or resident. However, following the guidelines of your selected pest control company will enable a thorough, effective treatment.